House bill seeking government P2P ban gets boost
Tiversa gives House committee 200 new examples of P2P leaks of U.S. secret data
Computerworld - Security firm Tiversa Inc. has provided the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with more reasons to ban the use of peer-to-peer networks in government -- it recently accessed some 200 sensitive military documents via P2P technology.
The documents include personal data on U.S. troops based overseas, details on sensitive military projects and defense contracts and documents that violate International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) rules, according to a Tiversa executive. One document contained personal data on dozens of soldiers from the Third Special Forces Group based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., and included the names and ages of their spouses and children.
The House committee had asked Tiversa to try to access such data and submit the results of its efforts as evidence that could be used in the committee's debate on a proposed bill that would ban the use of P2P technology on government networks. The request stemmed from a House hearing in July during which Tiversa had disclosed that it found details on safe house locations for the family of President Barack Obama, presidential motorcade routes and other sensitive data on a government P2P network. That followed Tiversa's disclosure that it had unearthed details about the president's helicopter, Marine One, on a server located in Iran. Those details were apparently inadvertently leaked to the Iranian system from a P2P network.
"In an effort to understand the magnitude of P2P risks, and draft appropriate legislation, the committee asked us to provide additional examples following the hearing in July," said Scott Harrer, brand director at Cranberry Township, Pa.-based Tiversa. Over the past month, the company submitted more than 200 additional examples of P2P network data that it has accessed, Harrer said.
Most of the documents found by Tiversa were marked "secret" and appear to include information from all branches of the military, Harrer said. The company has reported on its findings to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, he added. "We have recently seen these files being downloaded in foreign countries, including China and Pakistan," Harrer said. "We have also seen user-issued searches for this type of sensitive data emanating from outside the U.S., so people are in fact actively looking for it."
Tiversa's latest disclosures will likely add to growing concerns about the security of P2P networks.
Numerous others have highlighted similar data leaks as well. In January, Eric Johnson, a professor of operations management at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business disclosed that he had found numerous health care documents on P2P networks. For example, Johnson said he found a 1,718-page document containing Social Security numbers, dates of birth, insurance information, treatment codes and other health care data belonging to about 9,000 patients at a medical testing laboratory.
Such leaks typically occur when a user installs a P2P client such as Kazaa, LimeWire, BearShare, Morpheus or FastTrack on a computer for the purpose of sharing songs and other types of files with fellow network users. In many cases, the software is not installed properly and ends up exposing not just the files that the user wants to share, but also every other file on his computer.
A bill that would make it illegal for P2P developers to make software that causes files to be inadvertently shared over a P2P network without a user's knowledge was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week. The so-called Informed P2P User Act would also require developers to clearly inform users about files that are being made available for searching and sharing, and it would mandate that a user agree to the file-sharing first.
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- Top 3 Myths about Big Data Security : Debunking common misconceptions about big data security
- Big data represents massive business possibilities and competitive advantage for organizations that are able to harness and use that information. But how are...
- Magic Quadrant for Data Masking Technology
- IBM is a leader in Gartner Inc's Magic Quadrant for Data Masking Technology. Read the full report to learn about IBM.
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop
- Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- Top Tips for Securing Big Data Environments: Why Big Data Doesn't Have to Mean Big Security Challenges
- Organizations must come to terms with the security challenges they introduce. As big data environments ingest more data, organizations will face significant risks... All Government IT White Papers
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Why Are Customers Really Deploying an NGFW? It seems every IT Security expert is talking about the NGFW, but what are people really doing? This webcast covers 5 real-world customer...
- Charting Your Analytical Future - "Making predictive analytics part of your business processes" Webinar This session will show how predictive analytics can be used throughout the organization by anyone looking for answers and how organizations can make...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt.
- All Government IT Webcasts